Green Lane Road Show

Tollway holds public hearings on Blago's proposal

An important civic group is getting behind Gov. Rod Blagojevich's proposal for "Green Lanes" designed to reduce highway congestion by encouraging carpooling through variable toll charges depending on the number of occupants in a vehicle and the amount of traffic on the road.

Frank Beal, the executive director of Chicago Metropolis 2020, said in a statement to Illinois Tollway authorities at a hearing on Wednesday that "Congestion pricing on the Illinois Tollway is a welcome innovation that, if carefully executed, will help control congestion, reduce pollution, and promote carpooling and transit use."

The Tollway is near the end of a series of public hearings around the state about the plan.

"The obvious benefit of the proposed Green Lanes is that they provide a more reliable travel time for those drivers willing to pay for it. It’s like congestion insurance - for those days we all have when time or traffic is against us and there is someplace we absolutely have to be," Beal said.

"The Green Lanes proposal is a promising new tool to combat our traffic problems. With proper implementation, this program can reduce congestion, expand travel options, improve transit, and help the environment."

Not everyone is so sanguine. In the NapervilleSun, columnist Bill Mego calls it a "wacky bit of behavioral engineering."  And at a Hoffman Estates hearing last week, a few attendees questioned increases in tolls for trucks and an expense-sharing proposal for interchanges," the Daily Heraldreported. But the general tenor at that meeting was positive; significant opposition to the plan doesn't seem to have developed.

The Tollway is expected to vote on the plan on Nov. 20. There's still time to make your voice heard.

"In addition to the public hearings," the Courier News notes, "the tollway is accepting written comments on the plan via mail and its Web site. Mailed comments should be postmarked by Wednesday and sent to the tollway at 2700 Ogden Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515. Comments may be posted by Friday on the tollway's Web site,"

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